Next week I am going to be moderating a panel called "From the Laboratory to the Virtual World" at the annual meeting of the American Accounting Association, which brings together over 3000 accounting professors from the US. I figure that over the three days of the conference, I will be asked 300 times "What in G-d's name is a virtual world??"
What would you say to a business academic with no prior knowledge of virtual worlds—and only limited knowledge of video games? 100 words or less!
The first comment indicates my own first attempt.
p.s. Here are some panel details. I will be speaking about my WorldsForStudy project, and describing the state of affairs in Second Life financial markets. James Grimmelmann will be talking about organic institutions for performance evaluation and loot division in games like WoW. John List, an extraordinarily prolific economist who conducts “field experiments” will be talking about his own recent forays conducting experiments in Second Life. We should be able to lure people to the session-- the panel immediately follows plenary addresses by Nobel Prize winners Robert Lucas (macroeconomics) and Vernon Smith (experimental economics).